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Old Jun 7, 2011, 9:59 PM   #1
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Default Polarizer - Lunchtime

For some reason it stuck in my mind that noon wasn't a good time to use a polarizer, though I had read an article that said otherwise. As Cal pointed out with the first topic, you need to be at right angles to the sun to get much effect. The first person who told me how to use one said to have the sun on your shoulder and the mark on the polarizer up (that was in the days of a linear polarizer and they were marked where their greatest effect was). The article I read later on pointed out that at noon the sun was overhead and that you could face pretty much in any direction with the horizon visible and have the light at right angles.

So today at lunch I made some experiments. I discovered that one of my lenses wouldn't focus reliably with my big circular polarizer, and of course, it was the only lens I had that I could use it on (didn't have step-up rings that would fit the other lenses I had in my bag today). But as I was putting away the filter, I discovered a couple of forgotten linear polarizers that did fit several of the lenses, so I decided to play around with them all.

Here's a view taken without the polarizer:

As you can tell, I was not trying for anything pretty, just a scene that had a broad range of subjects and tone values, along with some sky.

Here's the same view with the polarizer turned to the maximum value. The camera didn't have a problem focusing this scene at all - in fact, the camera didn't have a problem focusing for any of the pictures as long as I had a place of high contrast under the focus point.

While normally I'd put the next example in a separate thread, I've got another thread about the nature of polarizers from today. The difference between these two shots were dramatic enough that I wanted to post them somewhere, so I'm adding them here. It's another window reflection example (and frankly, I prefer the non-polarized shot, I'll probably re-shoot it again with a different, longer lens or crop this one).

The non-polarized shot:

And then the one with the linear polarizer:

As you can see, there are times when you don't want to use a polarizer at all. This is such a fun topic, exploring the world of light.
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Old Jun 7, 2011, 11:11 PM   #2
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I have to agree with you, in the second pair the non-polarized version is more attractive than the polarized version.

Nice examples.
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Old Jun 7, 2011, 11:20 PM   #3
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In the last pair of photos, the polarized version would be OK if there were something to see behind the windows. However, in this case, removing the reflections seems to remove much of the depth of the photo and it looks "dead".

There have been several examples posted in this challenge where I prefer the unpolarized version. So I guess it all goes back to that saying "sometimes you feel like a nut, sometimes you don't". A polarizing can do some amazing things to a scene but the results sometimes are not desirable.

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Old Jun 8, 2011, 8:25 AM   #4
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I suspect the windows of this building have some sort of treatment to block the sun (perhaps a polarizing window treatment? At a minimum they are tinted) for energy efficiency. And yes, the second, polarized version is pretty boring when compared to the first one - I like the term "dead", suits the shot completely.
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